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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 26;7(1):1201. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01361-8.

A common neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam, impairs honey bee flight ability.

Author information

1
Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Viale Fanin 42, 40127, Bologna, Italy. tosi.biology@gmail.com.
2
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Honey Bee and Silkworm Research Unit, Via di Saliceto 80, 40128, Bologna, Italy. tosi.biology@gmail.com.
3
University of California, San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences, Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC0116, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0116, San Diego, USA. tosi.biology@gmail.com.
4
Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Viale Fanin 42, 40127, Bologna, Italy.
5
University of California, San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences, Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC0116, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0116, San Diego, USA.

Abstract

Pesticides can pose environmental risks, and a common neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam, decreases homing success in honey bees. Neonicotinoids can alter bee navigation, but we present the first evidence that neonicotinoid exposure alone can impair the physical ability of bees to fly. We tested the effects of acute or chronic exposure to thiamethoxam on the flight ability of foragers in flight mills. Within 1 h of consuming a single sublethal dose (1.34 ng/bee), foragers showed excitation and significantly increased flight duration (+78%) and distance (+72%). Chronic exposure significantly decreased flight duration (-54%), distance (-56%), and average velocity (-7%) after either one or two days of continuous exposure that resulted in bees ingesting field-relevant thiamethoxam doses of 1.96-2.90 ng/bee/day. These results provide the first demonstration that acute or chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid alone can significantly alter bee flight. Such exposure may impair foraging and homing, which are vital to normal colony function and ecosystem services.

PMID:
28446783
PMCID:
PMC5430654
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-01361-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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